Courtauld 2025 Water Ambition - What should my business be doing?

24th January 2019

Many Courtauld 2025 signatories are already taking action and dealing with some of the risks associated with water in supply chains. But for those who have struggled to make progress it can be challenging to know where to start. So below you can find information on how to make progress with the two commitments you have signed up to. 

Commitments
Business signatories are monitoring water use in their own operations and have improved efficiency; and
Business signatories are participating in collective action to improve the quality and availability of water in key sourcing areas.

What should your business be doing?

Reducing your exposure to water risks.

WWF have defined a framework to guide businesses towards being a water steward and reducing exposure to water risks.

 

Checklist for businesses 
 
To help businesses take the right steps, we have produced a checklist which outlines the actions to take, as well as links to further sources of guidance and support tools.  
 
Download the checklist here.  

Why act: the commercial risks

Why Act: the commercial risks 

Water is needed to produce everything your business sells. Yet it is becoming an increasingly unpredictable resource. Action is critical so that the sector is resilient to future pressures and can deliver for its customers.

Specifically, your business could be exposed to commercial risks related to sourcing:

  • Future security of supply (e.g. availability of sufficient water resource and quality to produce that product in that location). 
  • Food safety (e.g. shortages leading to increased potential for substitution, contamination risk from polluted water). 
  • Reputation (e.g. sourcing from water stressed or flood risk areas where local communities are affected)
  • Changes in legislation (e.g. future restrictions on abstraction licenses or discharge consents). 

Who else is acting and how has it benefited them?

Who else is acting and how has it benefited them?

Recognising the importance of this issue, a number of businesses, including Asda, Coca Cola, Co-op, M&S, Nestle, Sainsburys and Tesco are already actively seed funding these collaborations, and working with their suppliers to raise awareness, identify impacts and implement interventions. Many other businesses are also committed to taking action.

 
                     
   
 
 
The Water Ambition has the support of some of the most influential businesses in the UK. Some supporting quotes of the benefits they see are available here

An update on collective action opportunities

An update on collective action opportunities

No single company acting alone can address all the water risks that they face, but working collectively can leverage individual efforts to safeguard futures resources.  This is why we have established a series of pilot projects in key sourcing areas for UK food and drink. 

A update on the collective action project opportunities is available here.

All of the projects are focused on local action and/or meeting local needs - providing opportunities for staff and community engagement. There is an expectation that all signatory business (and many other businesses) will be supporting the collective effort in a least one location (e.g. for a key growing area for a critical raw material).  

The aim is to establish a critical mass of action and drive real change in these initial locations. Having proven this can work in practice, we will seek to broaden the ambition and scope of action to other key sourcing areas.